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Afternoon fire destroys local home

A very hot and raging fire destroyed a family home in the middle of Kahnawake Saturday. By the time firefighters arrived on scene the building was completely engulfed in flames. (Courtesy Tommy Diabo)

Just after noon August 13, Kahnawake Fire Brigade lieutenant Barry Diabo was teeing off of the eighth hole at Caughnawaga Golf Club, playing in the Peacekeeper’s Fundraiser Golf Tournament when a call came about a massive fire in the village area.

According to a Peacekeeper report, a call came into the station about a fire at 12:38 p.m. at Molly Skye’s residence, and the PKs paged the KFB.

“By the time I was on my way, the Peacekeepers went on the air and said it was fully engulfed,” said Diabo. “It took me about five minutes to get there and the whole house was up.”

Diabo did a search of the area, and ascertained if anyone was in the residence, which, fortunately, turned out to not be entirely true.

Molly’s daughter Blue Skye said her late-brothers ashes were lost in the fire, as were much of his worldly possessions.

KFB fire engines four and five were both on the scene to contain the fire’s spread that was burning hot.

“Heat was like you can’t imagine,” said neighbour Tom Jocks, whose neighbouring trailer’s siding and carport were severely damaged due to the heat.

Hydro Quebec was paged at 12:45, and a crew arrived just before 2 p.m. to shut the power down. By 3:45 p.m., PKs cleared the area.

Diabo was unable to state the cause of the blaze that also got into Skye’s garage.

“Once the windows bust on the side, the flames made their way in and that went up,” said Diabo.

PKs attempted to enter the building when they arrived, but could not due to the massive amounts of smoke billowing out of the windows.

“I think it had to have been burning for quite a while before anyone even noticed,” said Diabo. “Flames coming out the front and back, black smoke coming out the backside.”

KFB investigator Wihse Stacey said on Thursday the structure was too damaged to determine the cause of the fire.

“We managed to get it down to the area of origin, but that was as far as we got,” said Stacey.

Stacey said sometimes investigators can determine if the fire was an act of arson, electrical mishap or other, but for the Skye residence, it would require resources the KFB does not have.

“With enough evidence you can, but in this case, we couldn’t,” he said. “We couldn’t narrow it down. It wasn’t because we didn’t try hard enough. It was because the structure was becoming unsafe.”

Stacey confirmed that there is no chance it was a Hydro Quebec Smart Meter, as it was located on the other side of the house from where the fire started.

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